What is the relationship between surveying and geospatial science?

Surveying and land surveying is the measurement and mapping of our surrounding environment using mathematics, specialised technology and equipment.

Surveyors measure just about anything on the land, in the sky or on the ocean bed. They even measure polar ice-caps. The main types of surveying specialisations are land, mining, engineering and hydrographic.

As you can imagine, surveying and geospatial science are closely related fields. Surveying is related to the broad areas of spatial science or geospatial science.

If we use geospatial science to help us understand the relationship between the community and the environment in order to predict trends and patterns, we use surveying to first establish the boundaries of that environment.

What does a career in surveying look like?

As with the field of geospatial science, surveying is an ideal career path for students that find maths and geography fascinating. A typical day would see a surveyor make use of specialised technology to measure and map the world around us. This would include the robotic total station, aerial and terrestrial scanners, and GPS.

There are a number surveying roles that you can pursue. When starting out in the profession, one might work as a survey assistant, maintaining and utilising surveying equipment, assisting with measurement taking, recording data and pegging out land boundaries. At the other end of the scale, a licensed or registered surveyor are the only professionals legally authorised to perform cadastral surveying duties. They accurately map out boundary positions, provide critical data and advice to land developers, and manage projects from planning approval stages through to construction.

As you can therefore imagine, surveying is a job with a lot of variety. Surveyors can work in rural sun-baked areas, in the shadows of high rise urban skyscrapers, or on the seas combing the ocean depths. Surveyors could be outdoors in the field one day, then in the office the next.

The different ways we treat spatial data

Surveying is one of the oldest professions in the world, and while geospatial science traces its history back to comparatively recent times, the two are undeniably of a kind.

In the below video, Lee Hellen of Land Solution Australia highlights the differences and connections between surveying and geospatial science. He also touches on why location-based data is so important, and what the future of the industry holds.